It’s no secret that alcohol is toxic to the body. From high blood pressure to lowering your immune system and raising your risk for certain types of cancer, drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can seriously derail your health. April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. Read on to discover the benefits of participating in a dry month – a 31-day period where you abstain from alcohol.
Embarking on a dry month might be challenging if you’re a regular drinker. But ditching the bottle (or can) comes with several benefits that are sure to make an alcohol-free month worth it.
The Benefits of Participating in a Dry Month
- You could improve your health. Taking a break from alcohol could reduce blood sugar levels, lower blood pressure, improve concentration and help the liver function more normally.
- You might lose weight. At seven calories per gram, a standard five-ounce glass of wine contains about 130 calories, and a 12-ounce serving of beer is, on average, nearly 330 calories.
- A 2017 study found that people who binged on alcohol at least once a month over the course of one year were 41 percent more likely to become overweight after a five-year period. (Bingeing is defined as five or more alcoholic drinks for males – or four or more alcoholic drinks for females – in one sitting.)
- You could get deeper sleep. According to a 2013 study, alcohol disrupts the most restorative phase of sleep.
- You could improve your skin. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which dehydrates the body and can dry out the skin.
- You could save money. Drinking is an expensive habit and taking a break will save you some cash.
- You might drink less moving forward. Often when people take a break from drinking, they find that they continue to drink less afterward rather than returning to drinking at their former capacity.
Tips for Completing a Successful Dry Month
- Avoid bars. Try finding other fun and new activities to try that don’t revolve around drinking.
- Find another way to unwind. You might try exercise, reading a good book, spending time in nature, meditation, etc.
- Encourage loved ones to join you. Together, you can support each other on a journey to better health.
- Try new non-alcoholic drinks. Tea and sparkling or herb-infused water are great alternatives to alcohol. If you’re at a party and want to feel festive, pour yourself a glass of sparkling water in a wine or cocktail glass and garnish it with a little fresh mint or basil.
- Save for something special. Set aside the money you would have spent on alcohol this month. At the end of your dry month, see how much you saved and put it toward a treat.
“Taking a Break From Alcohol – Tips and Benefits,” Fit For Work, fitforwork.org, Jan. 24, 2017.
“The Benefits Of A Dry January,” Lulu Garcia-Navarro and Dr. Rajiv Jalan, NPR.org, Jan. 7, 2017.